Pakistan possessing second strike capability is a reality as claimed by Retired Lt. Gen. Naeem Khalid Lodhi, Former defense secretary of Pakistan. The discussion of second strike capability comes in light of current Indo-Pak relations and tensions at the Line of Control (LoC), and the fact that India enjoys superiority over Pakistan in certain aspects. Retired Lt. Gen. Lodhi was speaking at Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), a think tank based in Islamabad that discusses strategic issues. Second strike capability is quite an important factor for any nuclear power.
Second strike capability is strictly regarding nuclear strategy. It assures that a country will be able to respond to a nuclear attack with possibly an even powerful nuclear retaliation. When it comes to nuclear deterrence, second strike capability is immensely important. It also assures the opponent that winning with just one strike may not be a possibility. In simpler terms, if a country were to launch a nuclear attack on an opponent, the opponent will be able to fight back with a nuclear attack of their own. That phenomenon is referred to as the second strike capability. The ability also refers to the fact that nuclear retaliation is not only limited to ground, in that, an attack can easily be launched via sea or air.
It is yet unclear whether Pakistan possesses the second strike capability via submarines. That is one of those essential milestones Pakistan is yet to achieve. India is already making moves towards it. When we say it is unclear, we are not definitely sure. It is quite the possibility that Pakistan already has nuclear-capable submarines, with the ability of a second strike, but they are just being kept under wraps.
Pakistan already Babur (Hatf VII); cruise missile that can carry nuclear warheads and possesses second strike capability. President of SVI, Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema stated that both the cruise missiles can be launched via a submarine. Submarines are potentially the most dangerous sea vessels to own, and they can be the difference between a win and a loss. In the most technical terms, having a submarine, with the capability to launch a nuclear-capable ballistic missile, is the most ideal mode of second strike. Unfortunately, Pakistan or for that matter India, does not possess it yet.
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